As 2016 comes to a close, my year-end wrap-up process is a way to take a look at lessons learned this year and how we can use them to make next year even better.
It's not too soon to think about how you're going to start 2017. Kick off the new year with a group of motivated women like you, in one of my paid The Productive Woman Mastermind groups. If you’re looking for encouragement, motivation, and accountability in achieving your goals and moving forward in a life that matters, you'll find it there. TPW Mastermind groups are small, to allow maximum participation and benefit. New groups will start after the first year, but they're forming right now, and spaces are limited (as I'm writing this, only 2 spots left for the January groups), so get on the list today–visit the Work with Me page on the website for information and short audio testimonials from current TPW masterminders. You'll also find a link to the short online application. Questions? Email me!
Taking Time for a Year-end Wrap-up
I typically take the last two weeks of the year to take stock of the past year and to plan ahead for the coming year. Around this time last year I shared “Laying a Foundation for a Great New Year,” in which I talked in depth about the process that I use. I encourage you to listen to that and adapt it as needed to work for you. It starts with a look back.
A Look Back – Set Aside Time to Think About the Past Year
Choose one area of your life to focus on at a time. In turn, consider your work, personal care, family, etc. and in each area ask yourself what went well and what didn’t work so well. What did you accomplish that you are happy about and what things did you hope to accomplish but didn’t? Think about why you didn't accomplish those things. Did you make an intentional choice to focus elsewhere, or did other things simply crowd out those goals?
Spend some time evaluating your life overall. Look at your calendar and consider where you spent the most time and where did you not spend enough. What brought you joy? Where did you feel stressed? Use the answers to these questions to guide your goal-setting for the coming year.
Learn from the Challenges, but Focus on the Positive
When reviewing the past year I try to focus on what I'm grateful for and what I accomplished that I'm proud of. I believe that gratitude is a choice, and gratitude changes how we experience our world. We can learn from the challenges while still focusing on the positive.
It is so important to give yourself some grace. We need to do that for ourselves and not be so hard on ourselves.
I encourage you to make a list (write it down) of the things you accomplished this year, both big and small, the ways you grew, and the lessons you learned. Some of your goals may not have panned out the way you wanted them to, but you did accomplish something and it’s important to give yourself credit for what you did.
Making this list is an ongoing process rather than a sit-down-once-and-get-it-done task. Add things as you think of them. Write down if you overcame a challenge or learned from a disappointment. Maybe you survived a failure or worked through conflict with a friend or family member. Perhaps you stayed disciplined in some small area of your life.
If you can’t think of anything, maybe it’s time to do some thought work, because there are things you have accomplished and that you have done, but you may not recognize it. I suggest asking someone who loves you what you have done this past year that is worth remembering.
A look forward
With that background in mind, it's time to begin thinking about what you want to accomplish in 2017. One way to start is by imagining your life at this time next year. Biz Chix founder and business coach Natalie Eckdahl, when talking about her process, suggested asking yourself, “How do I want to feel at the end of the year?” How we feel drives the things that we do. Do you want to feel proud? Satisfied? Successful? Peaceful? Find an emotion you want to feel by this time next year. Close your eyes and imagine how you want to feel and think, “What do I need to do to feel that way?” What do you want to have accomplished by the end of 2017?
When I talk about these things I always want to remind you that you don’t have to achieve things or “improve” yourself to earn your spot on the planet. You are worthy just as you are and who you are is good enough. As you think about your plans for the coming year, start from a place of knowing that nothing you do or don't do changes your value as a human being. We set goals and make plans because we want to and because they bring us joy. The things we do and who we are are two separate things.
With that in mind, start jotting ideas about what you’d need to do to feel the way you want to feel and to accomplish what you'd like to. Think about what steps you need to take to get there. Start with brainstorming (no censorship), and then over time narrow it down to the top two or three goals you would like to focus on in the first quarter of the year; shelve the others for later.
There are a lot of things we can do, but we don’t need to do it all at once. Choose just a couple of goals to really focus on, and put everything else aside. You're not going to forget it or lose it, because you've written it down. Just set it aside for now.
What I Hope to Do Better Next Year
I'm going through this same process during the last couple of weeks of the year–the look back and the look forward. Part of that process is considering areas I can improve. For instance, it's easy for me to put my own physical health on the back burner. One of the things I'll focus on in 2017 is my self-care. I'd also like to invest more time and energy in the people I love.
I also want to write more. I've put my writing off to the side the past few months and I’d like to spend time and energy on writing.
I would like to find more time to connect with and serve those of you in The Productive Woman Community. I have tons of ideas of things I'd like to do, but I'd love to hear your ideas about how I can serve you better. If there's something you're struggling with in your journey to making a life that matters, email me, and let's brainstorm solutions!
What to do during the break . . .
This is the last new episode of 2016, but I'll be back right after the first of the new year with new content and some guests I think you're going to love. (Again, if you have suggestions for topics we should talk about on the show in 2017, email me!) In the meantime, you might want to catch up on past episodes of The Productive Woman. You may find some helpful information and enjoy hearing from past guests.
This might also be a great time to check out some other podcasts.
Some other podcasts I recommend:
For encouragement and inspiration
- Brooke Castillo’s The Life Coach School Podcast: check out the recent episode 139 called Someone to Love.
- Gretchen Rubin’s Happier.
- Brand new podcast by former guest Demetra Liggins and her twin sister, the Corporate Homie Podcast. These are two successful women on a mission to help women and minorities thrive and succeed in the corporate world. Demetra and Bemetra will share offer tips on how you can be your best both in the office and in life.
More about productivity
- Organize 365: Practical help from professional organizer Lisa Woodruff, who you’ll be hearing from in an upcoming episode of TPW.
- Podcasts from my friends and productivity pros Erik Fisher (Beyond the To Do List) and Mike Vardy (The Productivityist Podcast)
- Emily Prokop's (our guest in episode 80) new The Story Behind: sharing the extraordinary history of the ordinary (recent episodes on Mount Rushmore, hoodies, and the electoral college–and so much more!).
This is a great time of year to curl up with a good book. I'm looking forward to spending some quality time with my books during the next couple weeks.
Here are a few books I recommend checking out:
- Gary Keller’s book The One Thing–one of the most impactful books I've read this year.
- I’m looking forward to reading a book called Organizing for Your Lifestyle, by Jane Stoller
- I'll also be finishing Brené Brown’s book Rising Strong
- I recently read and loved The Chemist, new book by Stephenie Meyer
- If you like inspirational fiction, I love anything by the amazing Susan May Warren; one of her recent novels is Wild Montana Skies.
I would love to hear your book or podcast recommendations. Share in the comments below or in the TPW Community Facebook group.
Remember to rest and relax in the coming weeks.
Spend some time in the next couple of weeks thinking about this: What is your dream? The one that won’t let you go–that maybe you don’t talk about, but you think about often. This coming year on The Productive Woman we'll talk about how we can bring those dreams to life and accomplish those things that seem out of reach.
Consider joining The Productive Woman Mastermind group if you would like some help staying accountable and brainstorming ideas for making your dreams a reality.
Some Things to Let Go Of
In this episode I shared part of an encouraging email I received from Marc and Angel Chernoff (check out their website at Marc and Angel Hack Life for more encouraging posts and to sign up for their motivational mailing list) discussing 10 things to let go of before the new year starts. Here are 5 of the things on Marc and Angel's list; I encourage you to consider what each of these might mean for you:
- Let go of what isn’t helping your soul smile and grow
- Let go of the baggage you know you need to leave behind
- Let go of feeling you aren’t making progress fast enough
- Let go of worrying about everyone else’s opinions of your life
- Let go of the idea that it’s too late to start over again.
Last Thoughts for 2016
As I take this look back as part of my year-end process, one of the things I'm most grateful for is the TPW community. I sincerely feel it is a privilege to be a small part of your life. Having you as part of my life has made it so much richer. Thank you to each of you who listens and to each guest who has taken time out of her schedule to share her life and her expertise with us. Thank you to every listener who has taken time to write a review on iTunes or to email me and to share suggestions stories, ideas, and feedback. I read every one.
Thank you to each of the women who’ve joined a TPW mastermind and who are sharing life with me and the others in the groups during the 12-week sessions. The way you support and encourage each other, and the way you invest your time and heart into pursuing your passions and progressing toward the goals that help you make a life that matters as you define it…you inspire me.
Thank you to the women in the TPW community Facebook group. It's a delight to see the honest and transparent sharing and the way you jump into encourage and support each other.
It truly is an honor and a privilege to be a part of this community.
I can’t wait to see what we are going to accomplish together in the coming new year.
In the meantime, merry Christmas, and best wishes for a very happy holiday season.
What about you?
How will you wrap up your year? Do you spend time at year-end reviewing the past year and making plans for the new year? I'd love it if you'd share your process, or something you're proud of or grateful for from this year. Scroll down to the comments section below, share your thoughts in the TPW Community Facebook group, or email me!Click here to discover my favorite apps!
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